|Posted on January 11, 2014 at 6:10 PM|
Over the last few months, I have had immense pain in my left foot. The pain has gotten gradually worse, to the point where it has affected my social life and I was taking pain meds multiple times a day. The strange thing about it is, the pain traveled throughout my foot from day to day. It went from the heel, to the toe, to the arch; it was never in the same spot two days in a row! There were even times I felt heat coming out of my foot . . . weird! I tried new shoes and expensive insoles . . . nothing seemed to work! I finally went to my doctor and he said the pain was caused from spasticity in my calf. He stated therapy might help, but probably not because it had been so long since my injury. So he thinks maybe Botox injections might be beneficial. Many of us with TBI live our lives dealing with spasticity. Spasticity is a very painful condition caused by rigid or stiff muscles brought on by brain injury. It can affect our arms, hands, legs, feet, etc. But, I had a very hard time grasping just how the pain in my foot can be caused by the calf muscle. So I got to thinking, what has changed in my life? About a year and a half ago, as you might recall, I fell and broke my hand. The reason for the fall is because I chose to walk without the big, bulky and ugly leg brace which I absolutely hated. So, for safety and vanity reasons, I got fitted with a new, light-weight and less conspicuous brace, which I wore continuously throughout the day. The negative side of wearing a brace constantly was now my foot was never getting good range of motion, which meant I was not using my calf muscle. Additionally, the doctor told me to take a "break" from therapies which meant I stopped all my daily stretching and exercising. The "break" was only intended to be for a short while, but I’m embarrassed to say, it lasted longer than it should have . . . I got lazy. After just a few weeks of leg exercises, calf stretching and walking around the house without a leg brace, the pain has been reduced by at least 90%. I still continue wearing the brace outside the house. When I went to the follow-up appointment last week, the nurse practitioner was amazed at what a month’s worth of therapies could do to improve my condition. She no longer felt Botox was needed since exercising was working out so well! So what is the lesson learned? This brain injury is a life long journey and it will never allow me to take a day off. I guess I didn't have to think very hard about a New Year's resolution, it was pretty much handed to me . . . EXERCISE!